If a reporter from a world renowned publication interviewed you and asked your name would you provide it? Maybe you are wondering who in their right mind wouldn’t. That’s when I slowly raise my hand and say “me.”
At this point in time I am unwilling to reveal my identity. Here are the reasons I still blog anonymously.
1. My Identity Doesn’t Impact My Story
Providing my identity won’t add anything new to the story. Will you suddenly think differently of me if I tell you I am short or tall? Brunette or blond? Left-handed or right-handed? I don’t think so.
I think it’s important to share my gender and age. Beyond that the details are all in the blog. A picture of my face or my name won’t provide any extra clarity.
2. I’m Not Looking for Fame
These days a lot of people start blogs in the hopes of making money. Some hope their blogs will help them quit their day jobs, launch freelance careers or help them knock out best-sellers. I’m not opposed to those benefits, but it’s not the reason I started. Sure I throw ads in the margin of my pages, but I make pennies from doing so. Not once have I contemplated becoming famous or making a lot of money from blogging.
I began this blog as an online journal. A place to tell my story when I was in pain and frightened. In fact, I started this blog because no one knew about it. In real life it was difficult to share my fears about being sick. It’s much easier to express my emotions here than it is in the real world.
This blog presented a fresh space for me. A place where I could write about whatever I wanted without any judgement from the people that knew me. Writing anonymously I felt, (and still feel), relatively free.
I can feel incredibly proud of this accomplishment without tying my name to it.
3. It’s Risky
On the quest for financial independence it is very easy to talk about money. You can write things like, “I want to save $100,000” or “I want to buy a house.” That’s all well and good, but as your wealth grows it can become more difficult to share these details.
Saying “I’m worth $300,000” is very different than saying “I’m a multi-millionaire.” In general I think it’s a bad idea for people to know you have a boatload of money.
Why? First, people will judge you differently when they know you have a lot of money. That’s sad, but true. Of course, we all know the opposite also happens. Plenty of people are judged for not having money too.
Money changes people’s perspectives of you. I think a lot of family members would grow resentful of our success and I see absolutely no need to be the catalyst for such a rift.
To be perfectly honest I also fear becoming a target and a plethora of other unlikely, but not completely out of the question situations. The world is full of all sorts of crazy people that could figure out my address and do who knows what with the information. If you don’t believe me read this nutty story. There are plenty of other similar stories on the Internet. Why risk it?
4. I Want to Tell My Whole Story
Right now I can write about anything I want. I am at liberty to write about topics that are near and dear to my heart without fear of real life repercussions. This isn’t to say that I speak ill of people or situations, but rather that I can be more honest about my own feelings when situations arise.
Am I coward for not revealing my identity? I know some people might think so. It is unbelievably brave to write about personal and financial matters once you identify yourself.
If I added my photograph or name I would curb the topics and information I write about it. It’s as simple as that. I might not feel the same way at some point in the future, but it’s definitely the way I feel right now. The same way I’ve felt since I started writing this blog fourteen years ago.
Over the years I’ve written about my family, my job, my frustrations, my joys and many of my sorrows. Here I can be honest about struggles with my marriage, infertility and difficult family members. I wouldn’t be willing to reveal all of these nitty-gritty, unbelievably personal details if my name was plastered on this blog. That’s something I know about myself. I commend those bloggers who are open to putting themselves out there. Right now I’m just not one of them.
When I was struggling with infertility exactly three people knew about it. In real life only my massage therapist, my husband and one very close friend. That was it.
Partially Revealing Myself
I will partially reveal myself at Fincon this year. While I don’t intend to state my full name I will certainly show my face for the first time. I have to admit this feels slightly unnerving after remaining completely anonymous for so long. (Well all except for that one co-worker who identified me.)
I’ve wondered if I’ll change my stance on anonymity once I know at least a handful of people can identify me.
The Downside to Anonymity
Of course there is a downside to anonymity. Newspapers, magazines and other renowned publications are usually hesitant to write stories without using real names. This limits the reach of my story and that does frustrate me. If you want your voice to be heard it helps to willingly show your face to the world.
What about you? Do you write anonymously? If so, why? If not, why not?
*A funny side note: I recently emailed J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy to ask him where he moved. The price he paid for a mid-sized home seemed to good to be true for the area we both live in. If he found a secret gem of a neighborhood I was ready to start searching for homes for sale on Zillow. I could sell my more expensive house, buy something cheaper and pull my kids out of private school. He wrote a very kind response. I’m paraphrasing here, but it said something like, “Hey lady, don’t you know I write anonymously? Of course, I can’t tell you where I live and risk revealing my secret identity. Ha. Ha.” I didn’t even think about his anonymity when I asked the question.